Christmas, as the song says, is the most wonderful time of the year. A time of love, joy and celebration. But, if you are celebrating with a dog there are some important safety precautions to keep in mind.
If a trip to the Emergency Vet with your pup is not on your Christmas list you will want to be aware of these doggy dangers. Keep them in mind before you pull those boxes of decorations from the attic. Or before you invite the family over for a party.
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Live Christmas Trees – Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a tree, but they are full of potential hazards for dog. Many live trees have been sprayed with harmful chemicals and pesticides. Make sure your dog doesn’t lick or chew your tree.
Then there is the water in the tree stand. Your dog may see it as a tempting extra water bowl, but don’t let her drink tree water. It is a breeding ground for bacteria. Keep the stand covered to insure your dog is safe.
While you’re at it, make sure to secure the tree too, so it doesn’t topple over on your curious pup.
Artificial Christmas Trees – Hold on, before you ditch the live tree and replace it with an artificial one. There is one important consideration to keep in mind. Where was it manufactured? Many artificial trees are manufactured in China. It may contain lead or other materials that pose a danger to a pup who might chew it.
Lights – For many dogs it is very tempting to chew on a string of lights. Keep the wiring tucked away as much as possible and keep an eye out for bite marks. Be sure to use grounded extension cords to plug lights in. Electrical shock can cause burns, loss of consciousness and even death.
Tinsel and Ribbons – All that sparkling tinsel and curly ribbon look so inviting to your curious dog. But it is an invitation to disaster. When ingested, it can cause a serious, life-threating intestinal blockage. Watch for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and lethargy. If you see ribbon exiting your dog do not pull it out. That could cause even more damage. Call your veterinarian immediately!
Holly and Mistletoe – It is common knowledge among dog owners that Poinsettias can be toxic to dogs. What you may not be aware of is that popular floral decorations such as mistletoe and holly are even more toxic. If your dog ingests them, they can cause severe stomach upset.
If you decide to include these Yuletide decorations when decorating be cautious where you put them. However, if you have a pup with a tendency to eat anything it can get its mouth on it may be safer to exclude them.
If you suspect that your pup has munched on them, look for signs like drooling, lip smacking and head shaking. If you observe these signs call your vet at once!
Holiday Visitors – If you are having friends and family in your home for the holidays be sure to warn them all to watch the doors. You don’t want your dog rushing through a door that is left open or unguarded. Be sure to keep identification on your dog at all times in case she gets out. And don’t forget to provide a special retreat for your pup in case she wants to escape the noise and stress of the party.
We can’t think of a worse way to spend the holidays than an emergency vet visit with your pup. But it doesn’t have to happen. Being aware of the hazards and taking appropriate precautions will insure that you and your pup have a joyous Christmas.